Migraine Medications (cont.)
Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
In this Article
- Migraine medications overview
- For what conditions are migraine medications used?
- What are the different types of migraine medications?
- Which medications are used for preventing migraines?
- What are the side effects of migraine medications?
- What are the warnings and precautions with migraine medications?
- Which migraine medications are safe to use during pregnancy?
- Which migraine medications are safe to use while breastfeeding?
Which medications are used for preventing migraines?
Preventative therapy should be considered for patients who suffer from recurrent migraines that cause significant disability, frequent migraines that require treatment more than twice a week, or migraines that do not respond or respond poorly to symptomatic treatments. Currently there are no drugs that specifically target and prevent migraines. Certain blood pressure medications as well as some antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and herbals have been shown to have beneficial effects in preventing migraine headaches. It's important to understand that prophylactic medicines may not produce any significant benefits right away and maximal effects may not be seen for weeks to up to 6 months.
Although a number of medications have been used for the prevention of migraines, the medications that have been shown to be effective in controlled clinical trials, and are therefore recommended by the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) migraine prevention guidelines include:
- Divalproex sodium/sodium valproate
- Topiramate (Topamax)
- Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- Propranolol (Inderal)
- Timolol (Blocadren, Betimol)
Other medications that are used to prevent migraine headaches include:
Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists (ARBS)
- Candesartan (Atacand)
Calcium Channel Blockers
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Nortriptyline (Nortriptyline Hydrochloride, Nortriptyline Hydrochloride Oral Solution, Pamelor)
- Doxepin (Silenor)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil)
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